FM Oxford Academy 31-01-16
First up and we had a legend in the house with Bernie Marsden showing that he is a perfect host with a 30 minute acoustic set that had many name dropping anecdotes in between numbers.
Starting with Leadbelly's Linin' Track he showed he was equally adept vocally as well as his guitar playing that was exemplary.
He played Whitesnake's Trouble before a story about the recording process of Ain't Gonna Cry No More as when he arrived the band had already written it but he thought it's ok I have got Fool For Your Loving in his back pocket!
He ended with Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City with the crowd provided plenty of backing vocals and he left to the standing ovation he deserved.
FM were ending their lengthy Heroes And Villains European Tour after 7 months on the road and with this being the 22nd time I have seen them they continue to set the standard.
Playing predominantly the same set as last year's UK tour the band are tight and for the casual fan surprisingly heavy.
Here is what they played over the course of 90 minutes.
Excellent sound although the crap lighting of the upstairs room being too low never inspires.
The band were on fire with Jim Kirkpatrick on lead guitar adding plenty of guitar histrionics with the end of tour feel evident.Merv Goldsworthy on bass was his usual smiling self and his backing vocals were spot on.Pete Jupp on drums and Jem Davis on keyboards just add to the well oiled machine that is FM live.
Up front the voice Steve Overland was as ever on top form with a range of depth and clarity few have ever matched and showing himself to be one of Britain's best ever vocalists.
Digging Up The Dirt huge riff started proceedings before back to Indiscreet for I Belong To The Night before Don't Stop had been moved forward in the set.
Closer To Heaven was Steve's chance to shine and the hairs on the back of my neck stood to attention as he floored the crowd.
One change to the setlist was Crosstown Train dropped and a fan favourite Someday(You'll Come Running) played for the first time in over 30 years.The band had played it once back on the Tough It Out tour and Steve said he would only do it with St John's Ambulance available.
You could see even he was at his peak of his range and breathing singing it and a real joy to see at last.
Story Of My Life was again played as a Steve accapella track with Jem on keys and again a performance of such class.
Bernie then joined the band for 2 Whitesnake classics Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues and Here I Go Again with Bernie and Jim trading solo's and brought an end to a fabulous evening.
Within 5 minutes FM and Bernie came out to sign autographs and chat with the fans.As always they are top blokes and found out from Jem that the band are re recording Indiscreet for it's 30th anniversary although when I mentioned it to Pete he said he may have to kill me.Steve confirmed that it is half done.
Since the reunion FM just get better and better and with more recording to come there is no sign of it slowing down which is great news for us all.